Upper School

At AJA Upper School, we are proud to be on the front lines of science and math education, promoting Jewish innovation, discovery, and leadership in STEM fields as well as excellence in other areas of study. AJA’s Literature and Social Science classes are stimulating, interactive, and prepare our students for college with unparalleled resources in scholarship and critical thinking. Our groundbreaking dual track model for Judaic Studies is academically challenging, teaches text-decoding and language skills, provides a thorough grounding in our Jewish knowledge, history, and traditions, and guides students into love for Torah study and Judaism. AJA has also introduced an innovative new modular method of educating students about Modern Israel. We offer 18 options for Honors courses and 12 options for Advanced Placement courses.

To nurture a well-rounded student, AJA Upper School promotes participation in sports, fine arts, and service learning in addition to academic excellence. Upper School students have the opportunity to interact with the world on exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experiences like March of the Living, a politically enlightening trip to Azerbaijan to connect with the Jewish community there, or a worldwide science competition at the Weizmann Institute in Israel. Our educational roots are strong, deep and nourishing, offering our students stability, support, and strong ties to our tradition. At AJA, our teens test and develop their wings in a safe, creative and encouraging environment, providing their lift to help them fly on their own.

 

General Studies

"The skills, knowledge, and discipline required to be successful..."

At AJA, our general studies curriculum is designed to allow all AJA students develop the skills, knowledge, and discipline required to be successful in college and beyond. We accomplish this by offering a wide range of classes that foster the development of these traits:

  • We challenge students, but at the appropriate level of challenge.
  • To grow academically, students need to stretch and push themselves to accomplish feats they've never accomplished before. Our goals need to be attainable so that students can feel both challenged during the process and successful once the challenges have been met. All of our general studies classes are designed to foster and develop these skills, and by offering College Prep, Honors, and Advanced Placement (AP) courses, we can best match student interests and abilities with a rigorous combination of courses to guide students towards their goals.
  • We provide the support and guidance needed to nurture growth.
  • AJA faculty are often found working with students during lunch, after school, or during study halls to help them better understand a concept, review homework or test items, or deepen their understanding beyond what's covered in class. We offer an excellent Strategic Learning program to provide additional structure and support by assisting with organization, prioritization, and implementation of study and work strategies. Teachers also develop close relationships with students outside the classroom through Shabbatons, service learning, and extracurricular activities, which helps foster the trust that deep learning demands.
  • Students develop life skills, and not just knowledge of content. Our classes don't simply cover a great deal about history, math, science, and English; they also provide opportunities for students to collaborate, debate, and research. AJA students design and produce projects, papers, and presentations; juggle multiple responsibilities outside of class; and learn to organize priorities and develop time management skills. These life skills help our students not only to be successful academically in college, but to lead a productive, rewarding, and fulfilling life.

Judaic Studies

Critical Minds

Our Judaic Studies program features two dynamic tracks, each of which challenges our students to think critically about the material being studied. In our Moreshet Yisrael track, the students study rabbinic literature, business and medical ethics, Jewish history and thematic Chumash, all of which are designed to foster thoughtful discussion and critical analysis. Students in this track explore the nature of our tradition and consider how it influences Jewish life in modern society. Major themes addressed in this track range from leadership and relationships to intellectual property and genetic testing. In our Moreshet Torani track, our students are guided through text-based lessons on Chumash, Navi, and Talmud, and develop the skills necessary to become independent learners of our primary texts. Essential to this track is the ability to conduct critical analysis of textual difficulties, compare and contrast treatment of Torah concepts across different texts, and apply Torah principles to real-life situations. Students of this track will study four of the five Books of Moses, four major tractates of Talmud, and three to six books of Prophets. Consistent in both tracks is our commitment to cutting-edge methodology. We continue to explore these topics using problem-based learning (PBL), and challenge our students to look at the material using all of the tools they have acquired throughout their years of study at AJA. Students have the opportunity to select which track fits their learning goals, and may craft a schedule that includes some classes from each.

 

Compassionate Hearts

Central to the Judaic Studies program is the ability to think beyond one's self. Courses in both tracks, as well as our wide range of davening opportunities, highlight major Jewish concepts of contributing to community, perfecting the world, relating to God, and character development. Essential elements of these classes are the role of the Jewish people in broader society, our love for the State of Israel, understanding current halachic and national issues in their proper context, and Jewish perspectives towards social justice movements.

 

Committed Leaders

AJA graduates represent the future leaders of the Jewish people, in Atlanta and beyond. To that end, we consider it critical to prepare them to be at the forefront of the major issues facing the community. We empower our students to be proper advocates on behalf of the entire Jewish community worldwide through focused courses, guest lecturers, research projects, and a trip to Israel at the end of their junior year. Similarly, on matters of Jewish practice, we are training our students to be articulate ambassadors by exposing them to primary sources, conducting schoolwide days of study addressing major currents in the Jewish world, and offering regular opportunities to research and solve problems. Essential questions deal with issues such as how to engage in Israel advocacy on campus effectively, how the halachic process addresses modern inventions, and how a Jewish congregation can best serve each and every member of the community. All these components come together to produce a graduate who is ready to thrive as a committed Jewish leader. With these tools in hand, our students continue to be engaged in Jewish, civic, political, and social action in their universities of choice and beyond.

 

 

Hebrew Language

The Hebrew program allows all students to develop Hebrew skills through the proficiency approach. Students are assessed throughout the school year, and the curriculum is determined by the students' outcomes and level of performance.

  • Through formative assessments (such as in-class activities and quizzes) based on language and grammar goals, students practice reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills to better connect and communicate in Hebrew. Authentic Israeli materials, such as Israeli movies, songs, videos, clips, TV shows, and news are presented in each class. At the end of each school year, students take summative assessments to determine class placement the following year, so all students can take courses appropriate for their level of skill and performance.

Our Hebrew department offers a broad spectrum of courses. First, we offer an Ulpan for novices:

  • Novice-Low-Mid: This class is for students entering our high school without the fundamentals of the language.
  • Slightly more advanced students start the year with a grammar "boot camp," and move to thematic Hebrew units to help our students function in the language in daily life, using the fundamentals of the language for better outcomes:
  • Novice-Mid-High (9th grade)
  • Novice-Mid-High (10th-12th grades). Unit themes address family and friends, activities and sports, life in Israel, traveling, and places in Israel.
  • Intermediate-Low-Mid (9th grade)
  • Intermediate-Low-Mid (10th -12th grades). Unit themes relate to themes and characters in Hebrew literature. Students are encouraged to start narrating in Hebrew, and listening comprehension is addressed. Students will be able to read 1-2 pages of text, and class discussions are about life in Israel, with sessions on history and geography.
  • Intermediate High - (10th -12th): Thematic Hebrew units created by the teacher help the students to function in the language in daily life; but these students are presented with more complex ideas. Unit themes relate to themes and characters in Hebrew literature, current events, and Israeli culture and politics. Students are encouraged to narrate in Hebrew, and listening comprehension is a focus. Students read magazine and newspaper articles, authentic short texts, and poetry. Class discussions focus on life in Israel, as well as on the history of Israel and her people.

Finally, we also offer courses for "native" Hebrew speakers:

  • Advanced/Heritage learners (divided into 9th-10th class/11th-12th class). Most of these students have one or more Hebrew-speaking parents at home. The thematic Hebrew units are usually based on lessons found in standard Israeli high school Hebrew language textbooks. Our goal is to "push" these students to polish their fluency in Hebrew in daily life by using their language background benefits. Themes relate to current events and Israeli culture, authentic Israeli songs and poetry, newspapers, and advertisements. Starting in 9th grade, the students in these classes begin practicing to take the Hebrew language SAT II.

 

College Acceptances

Click here to access the AJA Upper School College Profile

 

 Atlanta Jewish Academy students have been accepted to a broad spectrum of colleges and universities across the United States and Israel. Some of these institutions include:

American University Rochester Institute of Technology International Schools
Barnard College Rutgers University Bar Ilan University
Binghamton University (SUNY) Savannah College of Art and Design B'Not Chayil Seminary
Boston University Simmons College Derech Eitz Chaim
Boston College Smith College Emunah V'omanut
Brandeis University Stanford University Hebrew University
Brown University Stern College for Women IDC Herzliya
Carnegie-Melon University Syracuse University Israel Experience
The College of Charleston Touro College Kerem B'Yavneh
Columbia College Towson University Ma'ale Gilboa
Columbia University Tufts University Machon Maayan
Cornell University Tulane University Mevaseret Zion
Dartmouth College University of Alabama Michletet Esther
DePaul University University of Arizona Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim
Drexel University University of Central Florida Midreshet Amit
Duke University University of Chicago Midreshet Harova
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University University of Colorado Midreshet Lindenbaum
Emerson College University of Connecticut Midreshet Moriah
Emory University University of Florida Migdal Oz
Florida State University University of Georgia Sha’alvim for Women
Franklin and Marshall College University of Hartford Shalem
Georgia Institute of Technology University of Illinois Tiferet
Georgia State University University of Kentucky Yeshivat Ahavas Chaim
George Washington University University of Maryland Yeshiva Bais Yisrael
Goucher College University of Massachusetts Yeshivat Har Etzion
Harvard University University of Miami Yeshivat Lev Hatorah
Indiana University University of Michigan Yeshivat Torat Shraga
Jacksonville University University of Missouri  
Johns Hopkins University University of Pennsylvania  
Kennesaw State University University of Pittsburgh  
Lynn University University of Rochester  
Massechusetts Institute of Technology University of South Carolina  
McGill University University of Tampa  
Mt. Holyoke College University of Virginia  
New York University Vanderbilt University  
Norteastern University Wake Forest University  
Northwestern University Washington University of St. Lous  
Oglethorpe University Yale University  
The Ohio State University Yeshiva University  
Oxford College of EMory    
Princeton University    
State University of New York at Albany    
State University of New York at Stony Brook    
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute